And, they’re off and running! The official list of candidates for citywide office became known on Friday, the last day of filing. There were few surprises.
Mayor Abed, 66, is facing Paul “Mac” McNamara, 65 as Abed runs for his third term.
In City Council District One Incumbent Ed Gallo, who is in real estate sales, is being challenged by Consuelo Martinez, whom he narrowly defeated four years ago.
In District 2 incumbent John Masson is facing Vanessa Valenzuela and Nicole Downey, who had not previously announced that she would be running.
Candidate statements are below (Downey declined to provide a statement.)
Sam Abed Statement
“The proudest days of my life were when I swore to support and defend the Constitution, as a new U.S. citizen, and as your Mayor. I’ve kept my promises. I passed balanced budgets for 8 consecutive years as Mayor, built $17 million in reserves and $16 million’ in Pension reserves. I’ve delivered efficient, transparent government, implemented pension reform, improved public safety, enhanced our roads and parks, and recruited thousands of new businesses and jobs to Escondido.
“I led Escondido back to excellent fiscal health, without raising taxes, ending years of deficits before I was Mayor, earning the Taxpayers’ Association’s Golden Watchdog Award. As Mayor, I’ve made Escondido safer. We hired new police officers, fully staffed our fire stations, reduced crime by 33% since 2010, aggressively fighting graffiti and gang violence. I’ve strongly opposed the Sanctuary State and was firmly against the illegal immigrant detention facility in Escondido. Economic Growth, Public Safety, Fiscal Management and Neighborhood Improvement are my top priorities as Mayor. I am passionate about creating a better life for our families and making Escondido the finest city in the County of San Diego. I love Escondido and I love our Country. I ask for your vote.”
Paul “Mac” McNamara statement
McNamara is executive director of the MCRD Museum Foundation, a retired Marine colonel; and elected trustee of Palomar College Governing Board.
“Escondido has a broken civic culture, and Paul ‘Mac’ McNamara is the one to fix it. Mac had a highly decorated Marine Corps career; after retiring, he held corporate leadership positions in engineering and information systems. He’s best known as a turnaround specialist; Escondido desperately needs his skills and integrity.
“Our neighborhoods are traumatized and impoverished by traffic snarls, huge legal settlements, and corrupting outside influences. The primary reason is a flawed campaign finance system that gives developers an outsized, outrageous role in city politics. Escondido has a ridiculously high individual campaign contribution limit ($4300) compared to $250 in San Marcos. Money talks—here it shouts. Libraries privatized, developers coddled, and self-dealing all plague Escondido. Mac will lead the charge to dramatically reduce the perverse role of money in Escondido politics.
“Mac is a highly respected, long-time member of the Escondido community. He is a genuine, born-in-America hero and patriot. He currently serves as director of the Marine Corps Recruitment Museum Foundation. We need him here now more than ever. Vote Paul “Mac’ McNamara for mayor and make our civic life healthy again. For Mac’s platform, see www.Mac4Mavor.orq.”
Ed Gallo Statement
“As your councilman I have fought to make our neighborhoods safer, create jobs and economic opportunities and improve the quality of life in Escondido.
“Neighborhood Improvements: 43 new and replaced street lights with LED in District 1, 94 lane miles of street paving, pothole repairs with next phase in progress, 7 mile bike path soon completed (2.5 miles in District 1). More lighting coming on E. Washington. New playground equipment at Washington Park with skate spot next.
“The past decade we have invested over $20 million in Mission Grove improvements. Soon, neighborhood parking districts you requested.
“Safe/Clean City: Support increased code enforcement efforts eradicating graffiti. Neighborhood Transformation Program with public safety cooperation is working. New traffic signal at Fig and El Norte Parkway in progress.
“Economic Development: Championed businesses locating in Escondido streamlining and reducing processing time. Supported El Super market who hired 140 employees, 120 full time positions.
“Homeless: Support efforts to reunite them with their families and locate suitable housing and counseling.
“Financial Stability: Conservative policies had our credit rating upgraded to AA. Pension payment plan now in place. Escondido is home since 1973. Let’s keep Escondido moving forward. ‘Escondido First’ is my commitment to you. VOTEGALLO.COM, firstname.lastname@example.org”
Consuelo Martinez Statement
Leadership Development Specialist
“A Leader For A Stronger Escondido—Escondido deserves a city councilmember who is responsive to the needs of each district and the city as a whole. I am running because I grew up in Escondido, and as a 35-year resident I have witnessed ‘the neglect of our neighborhoods, empty and run down businesses and storefronts, our library closing, decreased opportunities for youth, and a divisive disconnect between City Hall and Escondido residents.
“I believe we deserve better. My platform includes: increasing affordable housing, decreasing homelessness, community policing that keeps us safe, investing in core community services and improvements such as clean parks and safe streets, and bringing in new businesses and opportunities.
“I’ve served as a Commissioner on the Escondido Community Services Commission and the Escondido Police Chief’s Community Advisory Team. I have experience in legal, financial, policy and advocacy work in both corporate and nonprofit sectors. I hold degrees from Palomar College and California State University San Marcos. Escondido needs a passionate, accountable, and committed leader with positive ideas who will listen and represent all of us. I would be honored to have your vote and be that leader.
“With love and unity for Escondido, Consuelo Martinez for Escondido City Council — District 1 www.consuelomartinez.corn”
John Masson Statement
Occupation: Deputy Mayor/Small Business Owner Election
“It has been my honor to have served you on the Escondido City Council the past six years.
Working together, the Council has accomplished much: balanced budgets, an 18% reduction in crime (2016-2017), public employee pension reforms, implementation of our road maintenance program, outsourcing City services.
“If re-elected, I’ll continue working to improve the image and appearance of our City.
I’ll continue working toward improving our infrastructure including parks, roads and our water/reclaimed water system.
“I’ll continue working on reducing regulations that are barriers to economic growth, business attraction and the creation of jobs for our residents.
“I’m proud we maintain a balanced budget, with prudent reserves and I strongly support our public safety efforts.
“I grew up in Escondido, attended school here, own a business here, and now my wife and I are raising our family here. I am devoted to Escondido and pledge to do everything I can to make Escondido the best place for everyone to live, work and play. www.MassonForCouncil.com”
Vanessa Valenzuela Statement
“Escondido is Where I grew up, attended school, and my home since 1988. I love our city’s uniqueness and chose to raise my own family here. Currently-, I am controller for a design and planning firm with prior experience that includes the Rancho Santa Fe Association (a governing body for an unincorporated community southwest of Escondido The Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, among others. My diverse background includes solid understanding of municipal government, both nonprofit and private sector experience, with fifteen years in finance and budgeting.
“My decision to run for council was prompted by a desire to see prudent, researched decision-making from our elected officials. We deserve a local government that is transparent and inclusive. I strongly believe Escondido’s city council should have term limits and significantly reduced campaign contributions I will work to implement budget accountability, reduce wasteful spending, prioritize our roads, parks and infrastructure, and find. long term solutions to our city’s pension issues.
“This election will be pivotal. in determining Escondido’s future project development, preservation of remaining open space, and securing our place in the region for future generations. I pledge to listen to the community and take time to problem solve before making decisions. Your vote for me will give residents a strong voice on the council.”
Escondido Union School District
There will be an election in two trustee seats on the Escondido Union School District, with no election for a third trustee area. Joan Gardner, who has no opposition for her Trustee Area No. 2 seat, will be reelected to a full term. Incumbent Zesty Harper will be facing challenger Georgine M. Tomasi in Trustee Area No. 4. Incumbent Gary M. Altenberg will be facing challenger Frank Huston, a police officer.
Escondido High School District
There will be no election for the three open seats on the high school board. All three incumbents, Tina L. Pope, in Trustee Area No. 1; Bill Durney in Area No. 2 and Jon Petersen in Area 5 filed and there were no challengers.
Rincon Del Diablo Water District
There will be no election for the Rincon Del Diablo Water District, where incumbents Erin Lump, James M. Murtland and Gregory M. Quist filed for reelection but were unopposed.